Be Humble, Be Loved

| October 4, 2013

In the Book of Sirach from the Old Testament, the author says, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts” (Sir. 3:17).  That one sentence – isn’t that a great mantra for us to live our lives by?  After all, what’s the alternative?  To conduct our affairs with pride and arrogance?  Because if, as Sirach says, someone who lives the virtue of humility will be greatly loved, then what should we conclude about someone who lives with prideful arrogance?

I remember a funeral Mass I celebrated once for a man who was older, but not exactly elderly, so it was not as if all his family and friends had already died.  And the sad part about the Mass was that there were not many people there at all.  I mentioned this later to someone who knew the man, how it was a shame that so few people were in attendance.  And he said, “He was not a nice person, Father.  No one liked him because he did not treat people well.”  Conduct your affairs with humility, and you will loved more than a giver of gifts.

So, how do we conduct our affairs with humility?  Well, first and foremost we certainly cannot do it without God’s help, without His grace.  Humility is a virtue, and like any virtue, if we want it to increase, we not only need to make a conscious effort to practice it daily, but we also need to pray; we need to ask God to help us live the virtues – because as good as some of us might think we are, there is always more room for growth.

For instance, here’s one way to gauge your level of humility: If I was to ask you what is wrong with religion today, what would you answer?  What would be on your list?  What if I was to be more specific and ask: What is wrong with your religion, your faith community today?  What would be on your list?  And what would be at the top of your list?

Someone once asked Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) what she thought was wrong with the Church today.  Do you know what she answered?  She said, “Me.  I am what’s wrong with the Church.”  Mother Teresa, that saint on earth, said that she would put herself at the top of the list of things that needed to change.  Just as St. Paul says that, when it comes to the list of sinners, he counts himself first.

So, let us ask ourselves: What is wrong with my place of worship?  What is wrong with my neighborhood?  What is wrong with my workplace?  What is wrong with my household?  And before we start listing everyone and everything else, maybe we should stop and look at ourselves to see where we might be lacking in humility.

Conduct your affairs with humility, and you will loved more than a giver of gifts.

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